A fundamental step in establishing a mass production system is the development of a larval diet that promotes high adult performance at a reasonable cost. To identify a suitable larval diet for Aedes albopictus (Skuse), three diets were compared: a standard laboratory diet used at the Centro Agricoltura Ambiente, Italy (CAA) and two diets developed specifically for mosquito mass rearing at the FAO/IAEA Laboratory, Austria. The two IAEA diets, without affecting survival to the pupal stage, resulted in a shorter time to pupation and to emergence when compared with the CAA diet. At 24 h from pupation onset, 50 and 90% of the male pupae produced on the CAA and IAEA diets, respectively, had formed and could be collected. The diet received during the larval stage affected the longevity of adult males with access to water only, with best results observed when using the CAA larval diet. However, similar longevity among diet treatments was observed when males were supplied with sucrose solution. No differences were observed in the effects of larval diet on adult male size or female fecundity and fertility. Considering these results, along with the relative costs of the three diets, the IAEA 2 diet is found to be the preferred choice for mass rearing of Aedes albopictus, particularly if a sugar meal can be given to adult males before release, to ensure their teneral reserves are sufficient for survival, dispersal, and mating in the field.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4